Judge Disqualifies CA’s Office from Burglary Cases; Biberaj Alleges Judicial Overreach

A Circuit Court judge has removed and disqualified the Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office from prosecuting charges against a burglary suspect after finding misrepresentations in a plea agreement that had been made in the case.

The action is being challenged by Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaji as unjustified and unauthorized, amid an escalating battle with Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares.

In his June 9 order, Judge James E. Plowman appointed the Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office to prosecute the two felony burglary charges and three misdemeanor charges against Kevin E. Valle.

The charges stem from a spree of break-ins that happened May 18, 2021, in which two men were charged with smashing the glass doors of Sterling businesses and stealing cash registers and other items.

In December, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Michelle Burton submitted a plea agreement and supporting proffer of facts that were accepted by Plowman in late March. While the felony breaking and entering charges carry sentences of one to 20 years in prison, the plea agreement proposed a six-month active sentence on the two felonies and the additional charges of destruction of property and giving false identification to law enforcement. He also would be required to pay $2,289 in restitution to the Halal Asian Market, the Sterling Smoke Shop, and the Delhi Bazaar.

“The accused has no prior adult convictions on his record and has not been convicted of a felony,” Burton wrote in the proffer of facts of the case. “The co-conspirator is older and has a significant criminal history leading the Commonwealth to believe that this accused was being negatively influenced and that he was not the primary actor in these crimes. Each of these crimes as charged occurred within hours of each other and not over the course of days or even weeks. The accused is taking responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty to felony and misdemeanor offenses.”

However, shortly after the plea agreement was introduced, Valle was prosecuted in Fauquier County on three additional burglary charges—cases that were not disclosed to the judge in the Loudoun cases. 

Plowman in April set a hearing for Loudoun prosecutors to explain the “inconsistencies” in their filings. After that session proved unsuccessful, a second hearing was planned in May, but was continued. Last week, the judge closed the door on that outreach without a hearing.

In his order, Plowman objected to Burton’s portrayal that the crimes had occurred within a period of hours, when, in fact, Valle was a suspect in a series of up to 12 break-ins committed over 10 days in four different counties. He described the filings as “misleading representations and entirely inaccurate.”

He also objected to Burton’s characterization that Valle had no prior criminal history, despite numerous pending felony charges in the other jurisdictions and Valle having entered a guilty plea to three felony counts in Fauquier County just days before the documents were filed in Loudoun.

Plowman disputed the characterization that Valle had fallen under the influence of an older suspect with a longer criminal history. He wrote that Valle, at age 19 years and 5 months at the time of the crimes, was only 13 months younger than his alleged co-conspirator. And, he wrote, both had extensive juvenile records, with Valle having 15 charges and eight convictions and the second suspect 11 charges and 11 convictions.

“The representations contained herein are specifically drafted to mislead the reader and lack the appropriate level of candor which the Court requires of Virginia attorneys,” Plowman wrote.

He concluded that county prosecutors “entered the plea negotiations and entered into a plea agreement absent a full review of the facts, and without exercising due diligence to the performance of her duties in preparation for the case and/or that the commonwealth is deliberately misleading the Court, and the public, in an effort to ‘sell’ the plea agreement for some reason that has yet to be explained.”

The actions “reflect an inability of the Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to properly prosecute this case with the detail and attention required of a criminal prosecutor and consistent with the professional standards and obligations of a prosecutor,” Plowman wrote.

Biberaj called a press conference Tuesday afternoon to refute Plowman’s claims and to announce two avenues to reverse the action, with an appeal planned to the State Supreme Court and a motion to reconsider at the Circuit Court level.

“The documents we filed were fully accurate and consistent with the facts that were at the time of the agreement in August as well as the time of the signatures on Dec. 22,” she said.

And, she said, the proposed six-month jail sentence and restitution requirement fit the crimes that occurred in Loudoun.

“Mr. Valle is a 19-year-old boy, a teenager. He could be your son. He could be your brother. He could be your child’s playmate. He is 19 years of age. Guess what? Back in the period of May [2021], he made some knucklehead decisions,” she said.

Jail time and fines aren’t the only penalties offenders face, she said. “One of the harshest things we can do to young emerging adults is to have them as convicted felons.” 

In addition to disputing Plowman’s characterizations, Biberaj said the judge lacked the statutory authority to remove her office from the case, saying that can only be done as a recusal because of a conflict or by upholding a defense allegation of bias. 

And to make the order without a hearing was extraordinary, she said.

But Biberaj focused her sharpest remarks on making charges that the controversy was being stirred in a broader political play.

While Plowman’s order assigned the Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to pick up the cases, on Monday, Attorney General Jason S. Miyares wrote to Chief Judge Douglas L. Fleming Jr. to offer his office’s support. Miyares has targeted Biberaj as being among the state’s progressive prosecutors criticized as being too lenient on criminals.

“It is clear from the order that the Court has rightfully lost confidence in Ms. Biberaj, her deputies and her office’s ability and willingness to effectively seek justice in this matter. This is a situation of first impression for most in the legal community. Considering the unprecedented development, I wanted to offer to the Court the services of the Office of the Attorney General to either prosecute these cases or assist the Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office in that prosecution,” Miyares wrote.

“This is a specific message to Attorney General Miyeres: Stay in your lane,” Biberaj said. “Your lane is Richmond. Your lane is you’re the attorney general for Virginia. You are not an elected commonwealth’s attorney and definitely not for Loudoun County.”

She said Miyares has been working to undermine the work of progressive prosecutors since he took office. 

“We are lowering crime in our communities, contrary to the stories that he chooses to tell. We are lowering the rate of incarcerations in our communities, so we do not unnecessarily keep people locked up in a jail, in a box, in a cell, in a cage who are not a threat to our community.”

She compared the attacks on her office to the Jan. 6 riots at the capitol.

“We’ve seen on Jan. 6 where the rule of law was set aside and it was set aside because somebody thought that their interests trumped the interest of the people. They do not,” she said. “The people rule by voting. The people rule by being engaged in the election process. The people rule by being registered voters and being citizens of the community. And the people here elected me to represent them, to be commonwealth’s attorney.”

“For him to attempt to insert himself is not an appropriate use of his power. It is a misuse of his power, because what he is doing is he is dividing our community,” she said of Miyares.

22 thoughts on “Judge Disqualifies CA’s Office from Burglary Cases; Biberaj Alleges Judicial Overreach

  • 2022-06-14 at 12:55 pm
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    Intentionally “misleading” the court is just a polite way of saying that Biberaj’s office LIED.

    Buta Biberaj has no interest in representing the victims of crime, nor the law-abiding residents of Loudoun in the criminal justice system. Her ONLY interest is ensuring that criminals, even violent ones, are not punished for their actions.

    The pattern is clear and undeniable. We deserve better. We all must demand that she resigns.

  • 2022-06-14 at 1:50 pm
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    This is known as fraud upon the court and is grounds for Buta to be disbarred. Why would anyone believe a word that comes out of this radical’s mouth?

  • 2022-06-14 at 2:16 pm
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    Democrats not even bothering to hide it anymore. Criminals Good — Business owners and regular citizens Bad.

    There should be no misconception as to what would happen to you, if you lied to the court.

  • 2022-06-14 at 2:19 pm
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    So, Biberaj’s office is openly lying to judges. Not good. Shame on Loudoun for electing this Soros pawn who is doing everything she can to increase crime in Loudoun.

  • 2022-06-14 at 2:44 pm
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    I’m not privy to the ins-and-out of this particular case. But I do know Buta Biberaj has been the target of unprecedented attacks by the harpies. (I put Judge Plowman in that category.) They’ve had their daggers out for her since her election (even though she won by a wide margin). I take comfort knowing Ms. Biberaj is a strong, determined woman. She won’t be vanquished by her critics. Happy Flag Day Loudoun!

    • 2022-06-15 at 9:56 am
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      So then you won’t mind for someone to break into your home, steal items valued upwards of $2K, and then get a minimal sentence? Got it…

      So basically, you accept a society where there are no consequences for breaking the law? Got it…

      Happy Criminal’s Day, Loudoun!

    • 2022-06-15 at 10:14 am
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      Would you agree that her crowning achievement while holding the title of CA was when she hired a Sex Offender to work in her office, gave him full access to victims’ records and then lied about the hiring process?

      When Phyllis Randall (D), outed her for lying about the inexcusable misstep, was she being one of the “harpies,” as well>

    • 2022-06-15 at 11:01 am
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      Unprecedented attacks? Read the other responses here. Buta Biberaj is wholly incompetent as a CA. You stand alone. Even far left San Francisco recalled their (Soros-funded) District Attorney for similar incompetence, rising crime rates, and failure to prosecute criminals. Ms. Biberaj’s job is to represent the Commonwealth, not the criminal. If she wants to represent or otherwise advocate for the criminals, she should become a defense attorney or go back to being one if that is what she did previously.

      Take off your Donkey glasses for a change and start looking at the unmitigated disaster that the Democrats have created.

    • 2022-06-15 at 11:17 pm
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      Won by a large margin:
      Candidate Votes
      Buta Biberaj 57,715
      M. Nicole Wittmann 54,945

      Received ~$845000 from George Soros. Believes incarceration is a last resort, but personally prosecuted Steve Smith whose daughter was raped by a gender fluid teen. Happy Pride Month Loudoun!

      • 2022-06-17 at 2:52 pm
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        Don’t forget how she and the local (D)s orchestrated and executed a smear/disinformation campaign against her opponent.

  • 2022-06-14 at 6:12 pm
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    Finally a judge that sees through her and her offices incompetency. She is too pro criminal, she should have stuck to criminal defense.

  • 2022-06-14 at 7:19 pm
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    While the prosecutor did not lie to the judge, she certainly left out some pretty critical information that may have lead to the judge rejecting the plea. As mentioned by the judge the omission was either in error and raises questions about the prosecutor’s ability as an attorney, which is a reflection on her boss, or it was intentional. Either way the disqualification is justified.

  • 2022-06-14 at 8:20 pm
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    This lady is clueless… The AG is the Senior Law Enforcement Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia, which Loudoun is part. Classic… If you are losing the argument, compare it to January 6th.
    Ridiculous. This is a validation for those of us leaving Loudoun County. I wish you remaining good fortune.

  • 2022-06-14 at 8:43 pm
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    Don’t lie to the court. Lawyers have an affirmative responsibility to be truthful to the court. If by incompetence or carelessness, you filed an inaccurate document, you have a duty to withdraw, amend or correct your filing. Not doing so suggests it was intentional. In either case, unfit to prosecute the case.

    • 2022-06-15 at 10:16 am
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      If I could get the “Like” function to work on this site, you’d get one for that concise analysis.

  • 2022-06-15 at 7:41 am
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    How many times do we have to put up with our Commonwealth Attorney being so inferior that she is removed from multiple cases? Not speaking about her hiring practices, cover up’s or collusion with the school board.

  • 2022-06-15 at 9:13 am
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    Way to go Loudoun voters for electing this buffoon of a DA. Being 19 years of age is not just a “teenager” in the sense of a 13 year old. At age 18, you are considered an adult. And acting like $2,900 isn’t a lot, well tell that to the people that this adult stole from. Just like San Fran the DA that was booted by the liberal city voters, this DA is trying to make a name for herself and think she is making “change” and “progress.” Guess what, she will be the next Soro’s backed DA to be booted out when it comes time. Citizens expect LAW AND ORDER. Follow the laws of the land, and guess what, you don’t get in trouble. But if I am paying all these taxes and trying to raise a family in a nice community, I don’t need a DA that decides what broken laws to enforce versus not.

  • 2022-06-15 at 9:20 am
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    She needs to go. She was put in as the DA to release criminals from jail and not prosecute, and then calls it a success because crime is down, and jails are empty. She needs to be recalled!

  • 2022-06-15 at 9:59 am
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    Do the Loudoun residents want it’s once beautiful county to become a San Fran like area? Where homeless camps, drug use, burglary/theft runs rampant and the DA doesn’t prosecute?

    San Fran at least finally woke up and booted out their wacko DA. Will Loudoun wake up too before it’s too late?

  • 2022-06-16 at 4:15 pm
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    I read the comments on the stories, and a trend has increasingly come to my attention. …I have hesitated to write this because I believe comments like those by ‘timsmith’ prompt the hard working, law abiding, and considerate residents to rise up…and we /actually/ NEED that. This ‘timsmith’ is continually divisive, egregiously incorrect, and disturbing…I believe it is intentional, in order to stir the rest of us to respond.

    Not sure who is behind the screen, but in my opinion (and as I’ve read, many agree) this poster consistently misses the mark…which in turn causes the rest of us step up…so, oddly enough, props to this poster ‘timsmith’ for provoking the regular residents of Loudoun to find common ground, come together, link arms, realize we are most certainly /not/ alone, and VOTE!

    “Happy /Thursday/ everyone.” /chuckle

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